Steering wheel alignment - Jason
When I took my car into the main dealer for its annual service today I asked if the technician could look at my front tyres because they are 'feathering' slightly on the outside edges, especially on the NSF and adjust the tracking if necessary.
Upon collecting the car, I was told that the technician did not adjust the tracking because he thought that the tyre 'feathering' and the wear was normal.
They did however say that they had swapped the back tyres with the front tyres.
When I was driving the car home, I noticed that the steering wheel was not pointing directly ahead when travelling straight ahead (as it used to) - the steering wheel is now approx. 10-15 degrees to the left.
The car does not seem to pull to the left or the right when going straight but it is just niggling me that it is not straight.
Might it be something to do with them swapping the tyres around?

I would be grateful for any suggestions.
Is it anything I should be concerned about / should I take it back to the dealer?

Thanks in anticipation
Re: Steering wheel alignment - Andrew Bairsto
Nothing to do with changing your tyres ,they have changed the steering geomtry without making the neccesary steering wheel compensation.
Re: Steering wheel alignment - Cliff Pope
Surely steering wheel adjustment is the last part of the chain to put right?
If the track rods have been adjusted unequally then putting the wheel straight may look right but the rack will not be in the centre of its movement so there will be different locks left and right. Also the self-centring effect may be unequal.

I have always understood the sequence to be;

Set rack in centre of its movement
Adjust each track rod so that the two wheels individually point forwards.
Check track, and adjust track rods equally
Set steering wheel so that it is in the right position.

I don't think most garages do all that - they just set it up so that it looks right and tell the customer it is 'normal'.

Am I right?

Cliff Pope
Re: Steering wheel alignment - John Slaughter

The steering wheel definitely should be clamped in the straightahead position. Resetting the wheel is very difficult on modern cars with airbags. Also few these days have the old splined columns - often the fixing is just a hexagon.

As other have mentioned, ATS do clamp the wheel beofre adjusting the track.

Although it's possible that the wear pattern of the rear tyres, now shifted to the front, are causing the misalignment, I suspect they have actualy adjusted the tracking - and should have got the wheel straight!


Re: Steering wheel alignment - mike harvey
It does not matter about setting the track rod ends equally on a rack and pinnion system, other than to ensure enough thread is screwed in. On a steering box it it critical, as it will alter toe out on turns.
Re: Steering wheel alignment - Michael Thomas
I had the front tracked and balanced only a few weeks ago, this is the only bugbear I have about the excellent job they did. The steering wheel is pointing at a '1'o clock position'. Almost every tracking job I've had done this has happened.

Maybe you should specify that the steering wheel should be left in it's twelve o'clock position.
Re: Steering wheel alignment - Robert Fleming
At ATS they clamp the steering wheel in place before tracking adjustments. I was fairly impressed, except that didn't realise my car (a Polo) only has one adjustable track rod - you take the steering wheel off to re - centre it (and he didn't want to to that).
Re: Steering wheel alignment - Charles
If tracking is done correctly the steering wheel should be clamped in the straight ahead position before work commences. If the technician runs out of thread adjusting each end of the steering rack then either he/she has miscalculated the adjustment or a steering/suspension component is bent. Hope this helps Jason.

Re: Steering wheel alignment - Keith Stockdale
I have had exactly the same problem. Garages seem to think rotating the wheels front to rear is the thing to do when an owner complains of wheel alignment.

Everyones steering cant be bent. Is it that most garages dont have a clue how to set the wheel alignment?

I have had to complain to Ford about one of their dealers due to this

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